Keep On Truckin’ (One Nation, Underdog…)

So yesterday I had to watch my football team, the New England Patriots get their asses mercilessly handed to them by none other than the Denver Broncos, a team we barely beat in overtime a few games ago thanks to one of the best comebacks in the history of our franchise.  Yesterday we played the Broncos again for the AFC Championship and the right to go to the Superbowl. We fell and we fell hard to a Broncos team that fought like true champions. Any loss of that magnitude hurts but it hurts even more given what the team had to endure prior to and during this season. We loss Wes Welker to the none other than the Broncos due to our team’s inability to but fourth a competitive salary. We loss Aaron Hernandez to, well the entire country already knows how much of an idiot Hernandez is so I’m not even doing to share my two cents on that one. Rob Gronkowski, our star tight end and probably the best NFL receiver in recent memory due to his giant hands, his height, and unbelievable speed was rehabbing injuries from the previous season and wouldn’t be cleared to play until several weeks into the season. With the loss of a very dominant receiver core and the introduction of many rookie players, every sports commentator in existence spelled doom and gloom for our team. No one thought we had a chance at the playoffs this year and everyone wrote us off before we even had a chance to prove ourselves. In those first five games we played during the season, it was obvious our offense was hurting. We barely won games and the lack of a good offense ended up tasking our defensive line greatly which resulted in a nasty ripple effect in the form of losses critical losses to our D Line (Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly). Even with a good amount of wins and a lead in our division things were looking grim. Our rookies were sloppy and teams were easily destroying our defensive line. Yet somehow our team always managed to pull through despite the shitty hand they were dealt. Our team had a reliance I had yet see until now.

I’d like to liken this year’s Patriots to someone who got bit by a Zombie. That bite hurts and it hurts hard (the beginnings of our injuries). You’d think after that bite the zombie would give up but it keeps trucking on that will to survive and conquer and so the Pats survived and conquered even when getting more and more limbs blown off (more of the year’s critical injuries). The hunters (opposing teams) start to believe that this zombie is probably unstoppable and can’t be brought down. Sometime along the line they go for the legs and manage to blow one of bringing the zombie to a devastating halt (the loss of Gronk). People believe the zombie is done and that they have the game in the bag but it just keeps trucking and trucking and no one can understand why, they blew off most of the limbs and even a leg and yet it keeps trucking, it’s almost like it was prepared to adapt even under the most trying of circumstances. And so the zombie keeps on trucking but no matter how hard it fights it can only get so far before someone figures out that you have to aim for the head and soon the loss of limbs will catch up to the poor bastard. And so Peyton Manning aims straight for the head and hits and hits hard thus dropping the zombie and ending its run. As much as it hurts all you can do is sit and commend the zombie for fighting the valiant fight it did even under the adversity of missing limbs.

If I said this loss in the AFC Championship and the end of our Superbowl run didn’t hurt I’d have a nose longer than a giraffe’s neck. I’m glad we made it this far even with all the critical injuries we endured early on and even late into the season with the painful of Gronk that still hurts me to watch. As mentioned earlier, people wrote us off even before this season started with the loss of our receiver core and the introduction of rookies who at the beginning didn’t seem to get it together. It was a painful five games in the beginning as we barely got out of most fights alive. Kembrell Tompkins surprised me against the Saints with that game winning touchdown and from there I knew we were back in business. Thank you Brady and Belichick for shutting up all our doubters and critics with a phenomenal season despite our crippling injuries. It is a testament to Belichick’s coaching and his ability to readjust and adapt very efficiently to each team he battled. Unlike most football coaches Belichick knows how to efficiently use every player the same way a chess master uses all their pieces. They never stop when they lose their bishops or their rooks or even the queen.

This year we went from being top contenders to being underdogs with that much more to prove This particular season means a lot to me because we were underdogs. People who knew how I grew up will understand why I have an affinity to the underdog. To be told that something is impossible for you and then to go the distance and shock everyone in the process is the greatest feeling in the world which is why it still hurts to know that after all we endured we fell one game short of success. I wanted all the haters and the doubters who to had something to say to get proven wrong. If the Patriots have taught us anything this year it’s that no matter what monkey wrench gets tossed at you, you need to keep on trucking until the bitter end. It’s a mantra I’ve spent my entire life going by. From always being underestimated to always running into brick walls, I had no choice but to keep going and readjusting every step of the way. Being the underdog is a badge everyone should wear with pride. They said we’d barely win games and we finished with a 12-4 record, they said we wouldn’t make it into the playoffs and we made it to a championship. In short, don’t let people tell you what you can and can’t do because chances are you are always capable of what they say you can’t do and so much more. The ones with that much more to prove will always go the distance no matter what. Manning will probably go on to get his second ring and everyone will continue to ramble about his legacy but no story may ever compare to the 2013 Pats team, a team that shouldn’t have made it into the playoffs but fought the fight it did. I wish we could have made it to the Superbowl but I’m glad we made it to an AFC Championship and won yet another AFC East banner.

Hopefully next year we’ll be a much healthier team. and actually go the distance. To next season, may we actually have a dangerous receiver core once and burn our rivals. Stay classy people.

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